Truck driver recounts mall crash

2014-04-29 00:00

THE driver of the truck that careered off the N3 and smashed into Absa Bank at the Liberty Midlands Mall on January 23, 2012, told a high court judge on Friday that his journey had been “smooth” until he had passed the arrester beds on Town Hill.

Just after he had passed the Peter Brown off-ramp Thabiso Motseko said he saw a warning red indicator light appear on the dashboard of the 12-ton Mercedes truck he was driving.

He was transporting a load of ironing boards for his employer, Magimax Manufacturing CC, from Germiston to Durban, and had left Germiston on January 19. The trip was delayed for a while after he had to stop for repairs in the Ladysmith area, due to problems with his clutch pedal. He called his employer, who sent a mechanic. Two mechanics had worked on the truck on Monday, January 23, and he was finally given the go-ahead to proceed on his journey at 6.15 pm.

Motseko said he had no problems until Peter Brown off-ramp, and even stopped the truck at the compulsory truck stop on Town Hill.

Just after the Peter Brown off-ramp the red light appeared. This indicated there was “no air pressure in the brakes”. He had tried to apply brakes and his handbrake to no avail.

Motseko said his load started to “push” the truck. He had changed lanes from the left to the right to avoid crashing into trucks ahead of him. He also tried to change from second to first gear but the gear wouldn’t engage. After passing the other trucks he again moved to the left. He realised that there were construction works ahead on the N3 if he continued straight, so when he saw an off-ramp he branched off. By that time the truck had picked up speed.

“I was holding onto the steering wheel. I had no brakes,” he said.

The truck drove straight over a traffic circle and into the mall.

“What I remember is that the truck crashed against a tree or a fence. Then the windscreen cracked and I could not see. I then went straight. I was just holding the steering wheel to prevent the truck turning on its side. It then stopped. I saw bricks inside the vehicle,” he said.

Motseko said he stayed in the cab until paramedics arrived and helped him and his assistant to get out and they were taken to St Anne’s Hospital.

The case has now been adjourned to October 1, when Motseko will be cross-examined by lawyers representing the various parties involved in the civil trial.

Absa Bank is suing the truck owners (Magimax Manufacturing CC), their insurance company, Zurich Insurance Company SA Ltd, and Green Willow Repair Centre CC, for the R646 466 damage caused.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.